John Stevenson Collection

Official No:  106746    Port Number and Year:  19th in Hull, 1897 (H354)

                                                                                 11th in Milford, 1905

Description: Steel side / beam trawler; steam screw; coal burner. Ketch rigged: mainsail and mizzen. 

Crew: 9 men (1899, 1905)

Registered at Milford: 9 Dec 1905.

Built: Hawthorn, Leslie & Co., Leith, 1897 (Yard no. 63)

Tonnage: 184.36 gross 53.56 net 

Length / breadth / depth (feet): 112.5 / 21.1 / 11.15

Engine: T.3-Cyl, 60 h.p.



As H354

27 May 1897:  James Albert Smith, 46 North Boulevard, Hull.

Managing owner.


1902: C. H. Fox, Hull


1902: William Brumby, Hull.


By 1903: The Smith Steam Trawling Co., St. Andrew's Dock, Hull.

Manager: James A. Smith, 46 Boulevard, Hull.


Nov 1904: John Pettit, Docks, Milford.

Managing owner.


As M111.

9 Dec 1905:  William Jenkins, 60 Priory Rd., Milford.

Managing owner.


Landed at Milford: 27 Nov 1904 - 8 Jan 1908


John Cutler cert. no. 5311, age 36, born Yarmouth; residing Dartmouth St., Milford; signed on  1 Dec 1905; 3 Jan 1906

Henry Clark 6177, 25, London; 13 Greville Rd., Milford; 12 Feb, 7 Jul 1906

James Gale 1771, 44, Hull; Brooke Ave., Milford; 18 Aug 1906

Henry Scott 0231, 57, London; St. Ann's Rd., Hakin; 8 Jan 1908


Tantallon Castle is a ruined 14th century fortress on a promontory facing the Bass Rock, Firth of Forth.

Sister ship of  ROSSLYN CASTLE.

11 Jan 1908:  Vessel foundered 12 miles S. of Saltees.

Cert. Cancelled & Milford Registry Closed: 16 Jan 1908. Vessel foundered. 

 Accidents and Incidents:


From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph of Wednesday 11th January 1905:


    A serious mishap befell the steam trawler 'Tantallon Castle', owned by Mr John Pettit, early on Tuesday morning.  She came into dock on Monday morning, having made a very successful trip.  At night, she was berthed in the south-west corner of the dock, and the following morning it was seen that she was to a great extent enveloped in the water.  Had she been berthed in any other portion of the dock she must have been more completely covered than was the case, for there happens to be a bank just on the spot where she foundered.

    The cause of the accident appears to be the neglect of someone to see that the sea-cock, or stop valve, was properly secured.  The dock authorities were quickly at work, pumping operations being brought into play with commendable promptitude, whilst the diver was also requisitioned. 

    The usual supply of coal, amounting to many tons, had been shipped the previous day.  The damage to the vessel and her machinery is sure to be great, and sympathy is expressed on all hands with the owner in the misfortune, especially as the boat was only recently brought to the port.  It will be remembered that a short time back a similar mishap was only just prevented on another of the trawlers.



From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 17th March 1905:






        The severe weather that has been experienced of late culminated in a terrible storm late on Tuesday night and in the early hours on Wednesday morning, which has been attended with serious consequences all round the British Isles, including shipwrecks, interruption of telegraphic communication, damage to property, and loss of life. At Sennen, on the Cornish coast the British ship Kyber was lost with 23 lives, three only of those on board being saved, whilst the British cruiser Kent was driven ashore in the Forth.


        At Milford the storm is described as having been the most severe experienced for many years past. The wind blew from the south-west, and as the position of the town renders it particularly open to damage in a gale from that direction the inhabitants had a lively time of it for several hours during the night of Tuesday. A large plate-glass window in the post office was blown in, also one in Charles Street belonging to Miss Langdon, milliner, and all over the town slates and chimney pots were sent flying. At the Vicarage considerable damage was done to the roof, whilst at a house in course of erection at Hakin the chimney was blown down, and fell through the window, causing very great damage. In another house in the town a bedroom window was blown in and, in the absence of any means of coping with the matter, the wind blew with such force as actually to blow down a partition on the opposite side of the room, separating it from another room. A small wooden shed on the side of Victoria Road, near the bridge over the Docks, was blown down, and on the Docks serious damage was done.

        The high wind lifted off the roof bodily from the West Coast Co-operative Stores large sheets of corrugated iron. One portion struck the topmast of the steam trawler Tantallon Castle, and cut it clean off. Another portion smashed the wheel-house, glass and lamps of the steam trawler Fleetwood.




Log book entry:



About 4.30 a.m., 12 miles S of Saltees Island.

Sprang a leak and foundered.  Cause unknown

    Henry Scott (Skipper)

    G. Springer (Chief Engineer)



From the Haverfordwest & Milford Haven Telegraph, Wednesday, 15th January 1908:


Loss of the “Tantallon Castle”

 The steam trawler “Tantallon Castle” was lost on Saturday morning.  The vessel was fishing about 12 miles off the Smalls at 4.45 am.  The second engineer was engaged at the time painting in the engine-room when he perceived water gathering round his heels.  He called the chief, but they could not locate the source of the leakage.  The usual methods were adopted to stem the inrush, but it became so great that they had perforce to take to the small boat.  The vessel foundered about 7 o’clock.  The men rowed about and espied a smack which proved to be the “Ethel”, of Brixham, and they made for her and were taken aboard.  Later in the day they were transferred to the steam trawler “Japonica” and brought safely into Milford on Saturday night.  The “Tantallon” belonged to Messrs W. Jenkins and Co.  She was not wholly covered by insurance.  The skipper was the veteran Capt. H. Scott.



From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 17th January 1908:





     On Saturday morning the Tantallon Castle was fishing about twelve miles off the Smalls when at a quarter to five the second engineer observed water getting around his feet. He immediately called the chief engineer, and the water was now rising rapidly in the engine room. Notwithstanding all the efforts put forth the vessel began to sink, and the crew were ordered to take to the boat, and the steamer disappeared about seven o'clock. The men pulled towards the fishing smack Ethel, and got aboard about 8 a.m., where every comfort possible was provided for them.

    Later in the day the shipwrecked crew were put aboard the steam trawler Japonica, and landed at Milford Haven on Saturday evening.

    The Tantallon Castle was in charge of Captain H. Scott, and managed by Messrs. W. Jenkins and Son.


[Note: The location of the sinking was off the Saltee Islands, Co.Wexford, as stated in the log book, not the Smalls, though see the report at the foot of this page.  The unexplained leak which caused the vessel to founder may be compared with the incident which occurred in 1905 - see newspaper article above.]



From The Pembrokeshire Herald and General Advertiser of Friday 21st February 1908:


Pembrokeshire Compensation Claim.



    William Vollans, engineer of Prospect Place, Haverfordwest, brought a claim for £100 against William Jenkins, Milford Haven, and the owner of the steam trawler "Tantallon Castle". The plaintiff claimed the £100 damages because, on the 28th day of January, 1907, he was a seaman in the service of the defendant on board the steam trawler "Tantallon Castle" at Milford Docks, and was injured. As a consequence of the injury, the plaintiff lost the sight of his right eye. The injury was caused to the plaintiff by the bursting of the water-gauge glass on board the said steam trawler. It was alleged that the gauge-glass and the gauge-pipes, cocks, nuts, and drain-pipes to which they belonged, were defective, unsuitable, and unfit for the purposes for which they were used on board and the said steam trawler was not in a fit, safe, or seaworthy state of repair and equipment to be sent to sea on the date aforesaid, or at all, and the defendant did not take all reasonable means to insure the seaworthiness of the steam trawler for the voyage on the aforesaid date, when the voyage commenced. The action was heard before a jury of which Mr. H. Rees was the foreman. — Mr. Harold Stowe, barrister, Cardiff (instructed by Mr. W. J. Jones, solicitor, Haverfordwest), appeared for the plaintiff, and Mr. R. T. P. Williams, solicitor, Haverfordwest, for the defence.

 [ Detailed and extensive evidence for and against the plaintiff …………… ]

      Edward Jenkins said he was a fitter. He was in the employ of the defendant. He was in charge of the ship, and went on board the "Tantallon Castle" to get the orders for repairs. He worked on her on January 28th until 12 o'clock. Everything in connection with the boiler was in good order.

     Isaac Jenkins and Thomas Powell corroborated. The latter fitted a new gauge fitting to the "Tantallon Castle" in 1905.

     George Croft was chief engineer on the "Tantallon Castle" before Vollans. He never had any trouble with the glasses. He only used three for the year he was there. There was no guard on the gauge-glass. Morgan Watkin Howells said he was superintendant engineer for Messrs. Sellick, Morley, and Price. They had 40 steam trawlers, only seven or eight had guards. He did not think there ought to have been a guard in that case. The Moncreith Perth glasses were the best in the market. They had 17 new vessels during the last four years, and none of them had gauge-glasses. He had 30 years experience in London, Cardiff, and Milford, they had no guards or accidents.

     Mr. R. T. P. Williams and Mr. Stowe then addressed the jury.

     His Honour briefly summed up. The question the jury had to determine was whether the plaintiff had made out that the vessel and the machinery were not seaworthy. The other point was the defective quality of the glasses. Then there was the question of the guard. If the defendant supplied the best quality of gauge-glass that was all that was required of him.

     The jury, after an absence of half an hour returned to Court with a verdict that the water fittings were defective. They awarded the plaintiff £100 damages.



From B.T. and R. Larn (2002):   Shipwreck Index of Ireland 

TANTALLON CASTLE        11/01/1908

Co.Wexford, Saltee Islands, 12M S    51.56N 06.32W.


Voyage: Milford Haven - Fishing & return


Foundered offshore after developing a leak in wind conditions SE force 1.

Sources: BoT Wreck Returns; Lloyd's Register of Ships 1907-8.


[But the same authors in Vol.5 of the the Shipwreck Index (West Coast and Wales) give the wreck as 12 miles off the Smalls, at 51.43N 05.58W, citing Lloyd's Casualty Return (1908);  Goddard T (1983): Pembrokeshire Shipwrecks, p.81 & 165; and Lloyd's Register of Ships 1905-6.  Again, the log book entry and the later Lloyd's Register report suggest that the Saltees is the correct site.]



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